Arts·COVID Residencies

Forced to shelve their tattoo practice, Makoto Chi has found solace in other aspects of their art

"I think art is really important to think of other worlds, and another world is needed right now."

'I think art is really important to think of other worlds, and another world is needed right now'

Forced to shelve their tattoo practice, Makoto Chi has found solace in other aspects of their art

3 years ago
Duration 4:18
"I think art is really important to think of other worlds, and another world is needed right now."

In our self-shot video series COVID Residencies, we're checking out how artists are adapting their practices in isolation, whether it's diving into different processes or getting lost in their sketchbooks.

Last year when Makoto Chi was part of Season 1 of Art Hurts, it was almost impossible to get into their studio — the waiting list was incredibly long. With tens of thousands of followers, Chi is a highly sought-after tattoo artist with a flourishing practice.

During isolation, the tattoo industry has been completely shuttered. Like other practices that necessitate proximity, it's non-negotiable that artists put away their needles. For Chi, tattooing has made up much of their identity — so finding another way to express themselves has been key.

(Makoto Chi)

In this video, you'll get to go inside Chi's home and see how they're turning back to some ways of art-making that they haven't used for a while, replete with the characters and tiny marks that make up their very recognizable visual style. Chi says, "I think art is really important to think of other worlds, and another world is needed right now. Art is not only important but necessary for revolutionary new thinking. It's not just a window into that — it's a pathway through it. It's where desire and magic and action come together."

Follow Makoto Chi here and keep a lookout for the stories we're bringing you from other artists in isolation as part of COVID Residencies. Stay safe, friends!

(Makoto Chi)

CBC Arts understands that this is an incredibly difficult time for artists and arts organizations across this country. We will do our best to provide valuable information, share inspiring stories of communities rising up and make us all feel as (virtually) connected as possible as we get through this together. If there's something you think we should be talking about, let us know by emailing us at cbcarts@cbc.ca. See more of our COVID-related coverage here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lise Hosein is a producer at CBC Arts. Before that, she was an arts reporter at JazzFM 91, an interview producer at George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. When she's not at her CBC Arts desk she's sometimes an art history instructor and is always quite terrified of bees.

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